LAWRENCE, Kan. — Devin Neal ran for 112 yards and the go-ahead touchdown for Kansas with 55 seconds left, Oklahoma's Dillon Gabriel threw incomplete to the end zone on the final play of the game, and the Jayhawks beat the sixth-ranked Sooners 38-33 on Saturday.
Kansas snapped an 18-game losing streak to the Sooners in their final matchup before they depart for the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference, and they became the highest-ranked opponent the Jayhawks have beaten since a win over Virginia Tech in the 2008 Orange Bowl.
The Jayhawks (6-2, 3-2 Big 12) looked as if they'd given away an opportunity to win the game when Jason Bean was picked off with 2:29 to go. But their defense forced the Sooners (7-1, 4-1) to punt, and after two long completions and a fourth-down throw that picked up 37 yards, Neal scampered in from 9 out to give Kansas the lead back — but Oklahoma's offense another shot with the ball.
The Sooners still had a chance to salvage their perfect record when Gabriel completed a 39-yard pass to Brenan Thompson to get to the Kansas 34 with 24 seconds left. But after a short throw to Jovantae Barnes and an incompletion, Gabriel — under heavy pressure — threw high to the end zone on the final play to touch off a field-storming celebration in Lawrence.
Bean threw for 218 yards and two interceptions, both in the fourth quarter, while running for 62 yards and a score. Daniel Hishaw also had two TD runs for the Jayhawks, who had not beaten Oklahoma since October 4, 1997.
Gabriel threw for 171 yards with three touchdown runs, and Tawee Walker ran for 146 yards and a score, as the Sooners were left to lament too many missed opportunities down the stretch to keep their perfect record intact.
Until the fourth quarter, it had been a dreary Homecoming for the Jayhawks.
The sellout crowd packed Memorial Stadium early to watch Fox's pregame show, then started getting wet when rain moved in after kickoff. Midway through the second quarter, lightning lit up the sky, causing a delay of about an hour. And when the game finally resumed, about half that crowd was left — and a big portion of that was chanting “Boomer Sooner.”
The Jayhawks had jumped to a 14-0 lead when Mello Dotson returned Gabriel's interception for a touchdown and, after a fourth-down stand, they promptly marched 79 yards in 10 plays with Hishaw reaching the end zone.
But the Oklahoma offense, which was struggling without injured running back Marcus Major, found its stride when Walker checked in. The junior running back led them downfield before Gabriel scored on a keeper early in the second quarter, and when the lightning delay ended, Walker capped another drive with a tying touchdown of his own.
When the Jayhawks fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Gabriel needed just four plays to get the Sooners in the end zone again.
The game turned into a seesaw affair over the final 30 minutes.
Kansas drew within 21-20 on field goals on each side of halftime, then took the lead back in third quarter. Jalil Farooq fumbled the ball away in Oklahoma territory, and Bean ran 38 yards untouched on the very next play for the score.
The Sooners answered with a 75-yard touchdown march to take a 27-26 lead, only for the Jayhawks to take advantage of three personal fouls — including one on the Oklahoma bench for arguing about the first — to regain a 32-27 lead.
Kansas nearly made it a two-possession game after the Sooners muffed the kickoff, but a holding penalty brought back Hishaw's 20-yard touchdown run and Seth Keller missed a 42-yard field-goal attempt.
Oklahoma took advantage of the missed opportunity. After it was forced to punt, the Sooners' defense got a hand on Bean's third-down pass and Billy Bowman picked it off at the Kansas 14. Gabriel scored less than 2 minutes, barreling into the end zone from a yard out, and the Sooners had a 33-32 lead with 5:22 to go.
The Jayhawks had one more touchdown in them.
Oklahoma visits Oklahoma State next Saturday in the last edition of Bedlam for the foreseeable future.
Kansas heads to Iowa State next Saturday.